FOREIGN TIT BITS 

With future in doubt, Icardi refuses to play in Europa League after being stripped of Inter captaincy

The striker’s contract still has two-and-a-half years to run, but club officials have clashed with his wife and agent Wanda Nara. Mauro Icardi is refusing to play for Inter Milan in their Europe League tie against Rapid Vienna on Thursday after he was stripped of the club captaincy.

The manager, Luciano Spalletti, decided to pass the captain’s role to goalkeeper Samir Handanovic because Icardi’s protracted contract negotiations with the club were becoming a distraction. Icardi has been Inter’s leading goalscorer for each of the past four seasons and has scored nine in this campaign, although his form has slumped in recent weeks.

“The decision to remove the captain’s armband from Icardi was difficult and painful because we all know what he is worth to the team,” Spalletti said, head of the round-of-32 tie. “But it was divided between all parts of the club and was made exclusively for the good of Inter. He took it badly, but there are things which disturb him and the team.”

The striker’s contract still has two-and-a-half years to run, but club officials have clashed with his wife and agent, Wanda Nara.  Icardi’s situation will no doubt be closely monitored by all of Europe’s major clubs.

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